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Animal Tracks and Signs

by Jinny Johnson

      Years ago, the best science books for children came from British presses. Today, National Geographic has surpassed the quality and content of overseas publishers by providing colorful and informative books. Animal Tracks and Signs by Jinny Johnson is another excellent science book coming from National Geographic Children's Books. The over-sized hardcover edition is so durable it will stand up to many years of little fingers eagerly turning its pages. This is a book meant to be used at home, at school, or out exploring.

The introductory material discusses tracks and footprints, types of movement, how to track animals in the wild, and how to make plaster casts of tracks. This is great material for any young naturalist to learn. But most importantly, the text that follows provides information not only about mammals, which most animals tracks books offer, but also includes identification of the presence of amphibians and reptiles, birds, insects and other invertebrates.

Because the book is called Animal Tracks and Signs, some youngsters will become fascinated by the detailed catalog of animal scat or feces. Though that might gross out some parents or teachers, this information would be vital to any hunter, outdoor guide, or scientist. Scat is often a vital clue to identifying the presence of animals and animal activity. This can be a great boon to hikers and backpackers who share the wilderness with animals.

The book combines both photographs and illustrations of different animals. There are also text boxes to identify the range and habits of specific animals. The book includes animals from all over the world, not just those found in North America. Surprisingly, even ocean mammals leave distinct tracks on land when they haul themselves up on beaches.

There are special sections. Some deal with signs left when animals eat different things in the wild. Others deal with feathers, bird pellets, bird feeders and nesting boxes, bird nests, spider webs, and insect constructions. There is also a quiz about tracks and a detailed glossary.

Animal Tracks and Signs is an excellent source of information about animals from all over the world. This book should be mandatory in every classroom and library across the country. Additionally, parents and the children will find this book will open up a whole new world of animal appreciation and understanding.

The Book

National Geographic Children's Books
August 12, 2008
1426302533 / 978-1426302534
Children's Non-fiction Ages 6-12 / Nature
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The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2008
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.
© 2008